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Shanghai Residents Turn to NFTs Amidst Covid-19 Lockdown

NFTs became a new avenue for voices of dissent in Shanghai, amidst the COVID lockdown.

Shanghai Residents Turn to NFTs

Shanghai residents are turning to the blockchain and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) to share their ordeal during a month-long lockdown in an effort to avoid China’s strict censorship laws. 

China strives to achieve a ‘zero COVID’ status as the Shanghai district went into a lockdown affecting 25 million residents in 16 districts. The prolonged confinement and food shortage has sparked an outburst from the people affected. 

China’s strict censorship laws are aimed at preventing rumors and unverified information from circulating in the public space. However, rising frustration from those affected has resulted in a rare show of defiance against the authorities. NFTs in the form of videos, photos, and artworks documenting the ordeal are making their way to NFT marketplaces. 

Source: Stories from the Shanghai lockdown are finding their way out through NFTs as a means of expression on global platforms such as OpenSea

Expression of Frustation 

Governments around the world are finding it hard to battle misinformation and rumors as the pandemic rages on. However, strict policing will encroach on individuals’ freedom of expression. Today, the blockchain is providing a gateway to documenting events that can be shared globally and, importantly, it is censor-resistant. 

Simon Fong, an illustrator from Malaysia residing in Shanghai is using NFTs to deliver his message in a unique way. 

Source: Simon Fong uses Mao-era propaganda-style illustrations to drive home his message as Shanghai’s lockdown continues to impact local residents

A six-minute video titled “The Voice of April” is making the rounds on social media as OpenSea recounts the ordeals and plight of the Shanghainese during the lockdown. This montage has been deleted and censored on various Chinese platforms. 

The blockchain through NFTs is not merely providing a voice to the people but it has also allowed content creators to raise awareness and solicit donations towards a cause. 

Not Peculiar to Shanghai

Dissent from COVID lockdowns is not peculiar to Shanghai and the Chinese government. Countries such as Australia and the UK that imposed lockdown measures are also faced with protests. This is inevitable as governments around the world are battling with the need to protect public health and balancing that need with economic considerations. 

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